The NBA's new "Miami Vice" - James and Wade

Like Crokett and Tubbs in 1984, the 2010 version of Miami Vice (sans guns) will be starring two of the NBA’s finest - Lebron James and Dwayne Wade.

Even though I’m a long-time Los Angeles Lakers fan, I’m excited to have another formidable foe in the East. In addition, the NBA must be happy to have Lebron out of the uninspiring Cleveland market.

I wasn’t surprised by his decision to take his talent and star power to Miami; I expected it as it was the right choice for a superstar who wanted to maximize his championship opportunities.

No other team could come close to offering James the succulent fruit of the Miami Heat. Here’s a taste:

-- Proven winner (5 NBA championships as Coach) in President Pat Riley

-- One of the NBA’s best players - Guard Dwayne Wade

-- A recent NBA championship in 2006

-- A third star and gifted big man who signed this year with Miami - Chris Bosh

-- A sizzling City - Miami, Florida

Could Cleveland, Chicago or New York offer the aforementioned heavy artillery? No way. I won’t even mention the other teams that were interested in James as their chances were slim to none in signing him.

Since James was a free agent (could sign with any team), his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers were in a good position as they could offer him more money than any other team. Although Cleveland was successful during the 7 years they had James, they never did much to add a Tubbs (#2) to his Crockett (#1).

I’ve been critical of James in the past as I felt that he could have led his team to at least one NBA championship considering they had the best regular season record in the NBA the past two years. In my opinion, Lebron knew that Cleveland had seen their best days. Both parties were at fault for not winning a championship which meant a breakup was not only the right thing to do but the best thing for everyone involved.

After reading what Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert said (“cowardly betrayal” was one) about Lebron’s decision, I’m glad he is no longer a Cavalier. Who would want to work for an owner who maligns a former employee because he exercised the option in his contract to seek employment elsewhere?

Lebron was the primary reason the Cleveland organization was successful and the value of the team undoubtedly increased as well. For that, Gilbert should be thankful. In addition, he was a model citizen who propelled the NBA to new heights.

Not choosing to sign with the Chicago Bulls was wise as it would have been an uphill battle following the legacy of the greatest basketball player ever, Michael Jordan (MJ). Lebron will never be an MJ and the comparison (by the media and friends) always irritated me as it wasn’t fair to either player. I wrote about Lebron and MJ on my sports blog earlier this year which you can read at the link below.


Having worked at Madison Square Garden (MSG) in the 1990’s, I would have enjoyed watching Lebron perform on the the stage of “The World’s Most Famous Arena”. With the incompetent basketball leadership over the past decade at MSG, everyone knew that Lebron would never want to be a part of the underwhelming (I’m being nice) NY Knicks organization.

In 2001, James Dolan (current Chairman of MSG and Cablevision) was instrumental in pushing out Dave Checketts, who had done a very good job during his tenure as President of the New York Knicks, followed by his promotion to the top spot at MSG.

The statements regarding Checketts resignation were flowery on both sides but most people close to the situation knew the real deal. The Knicks began their Titanic sink after the 1999 NBA Finals (lost to San Antonio) but losing Checketts in 2001 was the beginning of the end. I was an employee during part of Dave’s reign and his leadership skills never failed to impress me.

The next seven years for the Knicks were a disaster at best including the hiring of Isiah Thomas, dismal performances, bad drafts and bad trades. The icing on the cake was Dolan’s unwavering support of Thomas when he was charged with sexual harassment, (MSG lost in court and paid millions) a choice that surprised many people including me.

Under Dolan’s leadership, if the Knicks had been coherent and even mildly competitive or competent, they would have had a great chance to sign Lebron. They blew it along with the tremendous sparkle they would have enjoyed for a decade. With James, New York City would have been the hottest ticket in sports.

In my opinion, here’s why Lebron made the right decision:

-- Didn’t want the Pat Ewing “No Ring” Label - Pat Ewing was a NY Knicks superstar who filled the seats at MSG every night but seemed to never complain or talk to management about getting a quality 2nd player. Translation - No NBA Championship.

-- Pat Riley (former coach and current President of the Miami Heat) - He was a collegiate star and quality role player in the NBA. In addition, he won 5 NBA titles as a head coach. I have yet to see an executive (except Dallas owner Mark Cuban) more passionate or intense about winning. It probably didn’t take long for Lebron to figure out that Pat was the best person to help guide him to the next level - An NBA Title.

-- Bosh and Wade - Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade were two of the most sought after free agents other than James. Why not team with them? James indicated that he wanted to have fun and with this dynamic triangle, fun should be ubiquitous.

-- City of Miami - Lebron’s appeal, image and sponsors should increase in a sizzling town like Miami. A superstar (like Kobe in LA) of his stature should be in a place that shines.

-- Wants to Win the NBA Finals - Lebron probably understands that an NBA Championship is the ultimate measure of success. By the way, it’s an opportunity he took less money to achieve as staying in Cleveland would have paid him the most.

Under the wise counsel of Pat Riley, this team could be magnificent. Jeff Van Gundy (former NBA coach and current announcer) said (link below) they are “indefensbile” and will break the NBA’s single season record of 72-10, currently held by the 1996 Chicago Bulls. At the very least, the future of the Miami Heat is very bright!


With James and Wade as the catalyst and Bosh as a dynamic third option, I expect this team to fiercely challenge the NBA’s top teams. If injuries stay to a minimum, I believe that they will win 2 NBA Championships and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a decade similar to my Lakers (2000-2010) with 4 or 5 titles.

Don Johnson (Crokett) and Phillip Michael Thomas (Tubbs) took fashion to a new level and were the main reason Miami Vice was one of the hippest and coolest shows on TV. The NBA’s New Miami Vice, James and Wade, have some of that same appeal and from the beginning have generated a boat load of PR and buzz along with great expectations.

Will there be some growing pains for this team? Probably. But once they begin to gel and find their rhythm, it will be a show that you don’t want o miss - just the like the original series that my college roommate and I never missed on a Friday night.

After their first NBA Title, I can envision James and Wade leaping into a sleek motorboat to celebrate (dressed in fancy pastels like Tubbs and Crokett) while heading to the Miami Heat championship party on the water.

The TV Series lasted 5 years. Let’s hope the New Miami Vice lasts longer and has just as much impact.

As an NBA fan and lover of basketball, I can’t wait.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

Crockett and Tubbs took care of business yet always seemed to have fun. Will the new "Miami Vice" be as successful?

I've joined the Twitter Revolution!

From the moment Twitter blossomed, I realized it was going to be popular as everyone seemed to be talking about it simultaneously.

I don't think many people realized how powerful it would become although a good friend (entrepreneur and technology lover) probably envisioned its potential. Here's what he wrote to me:

Twitter is a real-time microblog/public SMS that allows people to share whatever they please, unedited, in the moment. While most things are inconsequential it's proven to take the veil off events that are usually narrated by media outlets and has been used as a revolutionary tool in events such as the Iran election protests. At the end of the day it will be defined by the users-- like any new media or tech resource.

A lawyer friend added his view:

Twitter is a message multiplier and an incredibly powerful tool for communicating with people all over the wold. From issues advocates in your community, to US Senators, to journalists across the globe.

I knew I would join the Twitter craze at some point especially since I have a weekly blog that is near and dear to me. Like Facebook, the Twitter Platform provides a great outlet for me or anyone seeking to spread or promote a message.

I wanted to wait a bit as I tend to let new technology evolve while keeping a watchful eye on it. At no point in the Twitter era did someone close to me complain or talk negatively about it - quite the opposite actually as friends kept singing its praises.

This month I joined the Twitter Revolution!

You can search for or find me at "Gswedes" if you want to follow me on Twitter. For those people, causes or groups I find interesting, I will add them to my list of followers.

Another entrepreneur (and architect) friend had these thoughts:

Just as I’m deciding to take the time to write this email to you, I get a CNN Breaking News update about another oil rig explosion of the coast of Louisiana…again!

I had a knee jerk reaction to first send out a mass email…but I couldn’t decide who to include and who to exclude. So, I immediately thought of posting something on Facebook from my Blackberry. I have both aps on my phone by the way.

So, in a nutshell when I want the world to know what I’m thinking, I post it on Facebook and when I want to the whole world to know what I’m thinking but I don’t mind a few folks knowing where I am mostly and maybe what I’m thinking, I post it on Twitter.

For those who may not know much about Twitter, below you will find a few paragraphs and a link from an article which provide a good description.

From its initial success, it seems that Twitter is here to stay. I'm glad to finally be a part of it.

Happy Gswede Sunday!
Twitter, which was created by a 10-person startup in San Francisco called Obvious, is a heady mixture of messaging, social networking, "microblogging" and something called "presence," shorthand for the idea that people should enjoy an "always on" virtual omnipresence.

Twitter's rapid growth made it the object of intense interest and a fair amount of ridicule, as it was derided as high-tech trivia or the latest in time-wasting devices. But its use in Iran in the wake of the disputed presidential election of June 2009 to organize protests and disseminate information in the face of a news media crackdown brought it new respect.

"Twitterers" or "tweeters" send and receive short messages, called "tweets," on Twitter's Web site, with instant messaging software, or with mobile phones.

An entrepreneur friend who consistently utilizes Twitter

Don and Pat - In Stockholm

A few months ago, I received an email from the former CEO of a company I used to work for in America. I was pleasantly surprised that he and his wife wanted to visit my family in Stockholm. It had been a long time since we last saw one another although we have kept in contact. As fate would have it, we were in town during their short weekend stay.

The visit began at our place in the late afternoon where they had a chance to meet our children and have a brief chat with us on the terrace. It was a very hot day for Stockholm although Don and Pat liked it as it wasn’t the extreme heat and humidity that they experience in east coast USA . After kissing our children goodnight, we took them to a popular outdoor bar for a welcome drink and then headed to one of our favorite restaurants.

The conversation throughout the night was diverse and lively and touched on many facets of American and European life including the disheartening fact that not enough Americans travel abroad. With less than 25% of us having passports, I’m hopeful that these grim statistics will begin to improve with the next generation. It was inspiring to hear about their long marriage, their vacations throughout the world and learn from each other on a variety of interesting subjects.

What I didn’t tell Don that night was that working with him at America’s Charities (AC) was the most enjoyable 4 working years of my decade in Manhattan. Don is the former President and CEO (retired last year) of this fine organization that now raises over 30 million dollars for 100+ charities in the area of workplace giving. He was the first employee and worked at AC for 22 years.

Working for America’s Charities was my first foray in the non-profit arena and I explored numerous options before deciding to join the AC Team. I couldn’t have made a better choice!

Overall, my colleagues were friendly, caring and capable and the business was fun and expanding rapidly.  Don's leadership never failed to impress me and he led the company in a fair and enjoyable way. In addition, I had a great boss (Edwin) who played a vital role in motivating the sales team and me to do our best. That team and the company in general had strong success during my 4 years.

In my sales role, I learned about philanthropy, met prominent people in the industry and gained a wealth of knowledge on giving in general. That education has been invaluable in running a successful youth basketball program for 6 years in Sweden, inspiring individuals on giving and being a fundraising consultant.

Like most companies, we had our challenging times including the shock that everyone had to deal with on the tragic day of September 11, 2001 - I was in NYC that day. I was proud of how top management, my colleagues, our clients and many of our charities coped with and responded to the aftermath of that horrible tragedy.

One of our clients was in the south tower that morning although thankfully most survived including my primary contact. Sadly, the head of Human Resources (a true hero that day) never made it out as she made sure all employees and guests went first.

My story about what I experienced on 9/11 is at the link below:

Done and Pat flew back to the USA after their Stockholm visit. Sweden was the last stop on a five week European journey. It warms my heart that they made the effort to come see my family. Next time, we hope to visit them on their turf although it probably won’t happen until our young kids are a bit older.

It was a wonderful night! Thanks Don and Pat.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

A view from above in sunny Florida, USA.

Leave the country. That’s what I tell everybody — just go.

The title of this article comes from an interview I read on an online website. It captured my attention because of its frank and bold nature and the fact that I live outside of the USA.

A portion of the interview with Quintin E. Primo III, co-founder and chief executive of Capri Capital Partners is below:

Q. What’s your best career advice to young graduates?

A. Three words: leave the country. Get out of here. That’s what I tell everybody — just go. I don’t care where you go, just go.

In addition, I have been thinking for a long time about how to succinctly address our youth in terms of exploring and learning about our world. This advice couldn't be better.

The three points below (from the same interview) on "learning about Islam", "speaking another language" and "getting a broad understanding the world's cultures" are essential for youth in the USA to know:

Q. Because?

A. Because the world is changing. It is no longer acceptable to speak only English if you are 25 and younger. It’s unacceptable. You have little chance of being successful if you speak only one language.

If you don’t understand Islam, you’re in trouble because Islam comprises somewhere between 1.6 billion and 1.8 billion people, and there are markets that are untapped that need to be tapped.

So you’ve got to get out of your front door, get out of the comfort and quiet of your home, and your safety zone, and step into a pool of risk where you have no idea what the outcome is going to be. Out of it all, you will have a much broader understanding of the world’s cultures, and you will have a much clearer idea of how the world perceives our culture, and all the value, and the benefits, and the beauty of our culture.

There is nothing more important. I don’t care where you went to business school. I don’t care whether your grades were good or bad. You have to leave the country.

Parents, encourage your children to explore the world even though you may want them to stay in the USA. Chances are that if you give them the wings to fly and live abroad, they will come back to our great country better prepared to tackle our immense challenges - with a kinder and more well-rounded knowledge of our brothers and sisters around the globe.

There aren't many better gifts to give your child than the enthusiastic encouragement to see the world beyond the occasional vacation.

Youth, Just go.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

There are a vast amount of places to explore in our world including the beauty of Sweden in the winter. (Picture by Fredrik)

Vitamin D - Do you get enough? (Most of Us Don't)

I watched a show a few years ago and was shocked at the number of people (especially women) who lacked a sufficient amount of Vitamin D. Many of them had no idea of how important it is and were surprised at their low levels.

Since then, I've made sure to get the proper level of Vitamin D on a yearly basis. It's not that difficult to do if you are aware of it. Recently, I read a good article on the subject - a few paragraphs are below followed by the link.

I implore you to read the full article and make adjustments in your lifestyle if you are Vitamin D deficient. Many of us are so it's worth the effort to check or follow some of the guidance in the article.

As I've said and written many times before, NOTHING is more important in life than our health.

Happy Gswede Sunday!
Studies indicate that the effects of a vitamin D deficiency include an elevated risk of developing (and dying from) cancers of the colon, breast and prostate; high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease; osteoarthritis; and immune-system abnormalities that can result in infections and autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Most people in the modern world have lifestyles that prevent them from acquiring the levels of vitamin D that evolution intended us to have. The sun’s ultraviolet-B rays absorbed through the skin are the body’s main source of this nutrient. Early humans evolved near the equator, where sun exposure is intense year round, and minimally clothed people spent most of the day outdoors.
Although more foods today are supplemented with vitamin D, experts say it is rarely possible to consume adequate amounts through foods. The main dietary sources are wild-caught oily fish (salmon, mackerel, bluefish, and canned tuna) and fortified milk and baby formula, cereal and orange juice.

Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University, a leading expert on vitamin D and author of “The Vitamin D Solution” (Hudson Street Press, 2010), said in an interview, “We want everyone to be above 30 nanograms per milliliter, but currently in the United States, Caucasians average 18 to 22 nanograms and African-Americans average 13 to 15 nanograms.” African-American women are 10 times as likely to have levels at or below 15 nanograms as white women, the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found.

Given appropriate sun exposure in summer, it is possible to meet the body’s yearlong need for vitamin D. But so many factors influence the rate of vitamin D formation in skin that it is difficult to establish a universal public health recommendation. Asked for a general recommendation, Dr. Holick suggests going outside in summer unprotected by sunscreen (except for the face, which should always be protected) wearing minimal clothing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. two or three times a week for 5 to 10 minutes.


A wonderful view in southern Sweden